Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble

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#100489 by @ 14.05.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble

Staring across interstellar space, the
alluring Cat's Eye
nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth.

A classic
, the Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents
a final, brief
glorious phase
in the life of a sun-like star.

This nebula's dying central star may have produced the simple,
outer pattern of dusty
concentric shells

by shrugging off
outer layers in a series of regular convulsions.

But the formation of the beautiful, more complex
inner structures is not well understood.

Seen so clearly in
this sharp Hubble Space
Telescope image,
the truly cosmic eye is over half a light-year across.

Of course,
gazing into the Cat's Eye,
astronomers may well be seeing
the fate of our sun, destined to enter its own
planetary nebula phase of
evolution ... in about
5 billion years.

Credit & Copyright
#100501 by @ 14.05.2007 14:35 - nach oben -
Electric Sheep...